Covid, restrictions and borders: what you need to know since January 31, 2021

Jean Castex, in an unexpected press conference after the Defense Council held on Saturday January 29, 2021, announced new measures to fight Covid-19. In addition to the closure of shopping malls and stores of more than 20,000 square meters, there were questions of border restrictions. We will explain everything to you.

The borders of the European Union are practically closed

The Prime Minister made a logical distinction between the borders of the European Union and the borders of countries in the so-called “European” area (the European Union plus other countries such as Switzerland or Monaco, for example) . The borders of the European Union have simply been closed since January 31, 2021 and until a date to be defined, for travelers coming from France or going there.

Thus, only the “compelling reasons” allow to leave the European area or to re-enter it… bound for France. Nothing prevents a traveler outside of Europe from landing, for example, in Germany and taking a car to go to France. This is the reason why restrictions also apply for travel between countries in the European area.

For travelers to France from a country outside the borders of the EU, a PCR test of less than 72 hours will have to be carried out in the country of origin, and a quarantine of 7 days will be mandatory.

For countries in the European area: negative PCR test compulsory, but…

Travelers arriving in France from a country in the European area (European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Holy See and Switzerland) must present a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure is compulsory, from the age of 11. However, there are exceptions.

Thus, the following exemptions apply, specifies the France Diplomatie site. The PCR test is not mandatory for:

travel by residents of border living areas within a radius of 30 km around their home for less than 24 hours;
business trips whose urgency or frequency is incompatible with the performance of such a test;
travel by road transport professionals in the exercise of their activity.

Exemptions will be granted, in the event of an inspection, on presentation of a document justifying their travel (work certificate, proof of address, etc.).

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